Monday, 23 February 2015
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to an article in The Weekend Australian, by Paul Kelly, which states that the Prime Minister 'had struck a government-to-government deal of sorts with Abe'. Has the Prime Minister already done a deal with Japanese Prime Minister Abe to build Australia's submarines?
The short answer is no. But, as I indicated to the House last time we met, we are exploring submarine cooperation with three countries. I have had discussions about submarine partnerships with Japan, I have had discussions about submarine partnerships with the Germans and I have had discussions about submarine partnerships with the French. It is true that those discussions, up till now, have been more detailed with the Japanese, because the Japanese make the best large conventional submarine in the world. But, under the arrangements that were announced last week, we will now enter into equally detailed discussions with the Japanese, the Germans and the French, with this objective: to give our country the best possible submarines at the best possible price, with maximal Australian participation in the production and the sustainment of these submarines.
Do you know what that means, Madam Speaker? That means more jobs for Adelaide. That is what that means. There will be more submarines—there will be up to 12 submarines—under this government, and more subs means more jobs for Adelaide. Do you know what will happen, Madam Speaker? Under this government, the next generation of submarines will actually be built. They will actually be built, because members opposite sat on their hands for six years, and what we saw with the conduct of the Future Submarine project was that you just cannot trust Labor with the nation's defences. Under Labor, what was looming was a massive capability gap. We will not leave this country defenceless.
Mr Snowdon interjecting—
We will ensure that a decision on future submarines is made by the end of the year. It will be in the best interests of our country and it will be an arrangement that looks after people in Adelaide, because more subs means more submarine jobs in South Australia.